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Publication numberUS6480798 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/983,905
Publication dateNov 12, 2002
Filing dateOct 26, 2001
Priority dateJun 23, 2000
Fee statusPaid
Also published asUS6333639, US6792372, US20020049556, US20030033107
Publication number09983905, 983905, US 6480798 B2, US 6480798B2, US-B2-6480798, US6480798 B2, US6480798B2
InventorsTerry R. Lee
Original AssigneeMicron Technology, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for independent output driver calibration
US 6480798 B2
Abstract
An apparatus and method for independently adjusting or calibrating the characteristics of multiple drivers for output buffer circuits without significantly increasing the associated necessary circuitry is disclosed. A central control logic circuit initiates the calibration process of the drivers. A serial communication link is provided between the control logic and each of the output drivers. The serial link reduces the number of lines that are required to communicate between the central control logic and the multiple output drivers. The output drivers can be calibrated one at a time, and a handoff is made from one driver to the next to start the calibration of the subsequent driver.
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Claims(163)
What is claimed is:
1. A method for independently calibrating a driver in each of a plurality of buffer circuits, said method comprising:
providing a first control signal from a central control circuit to a first driver control circuit associated with a first of said plurality of buffer circuits;
performing a first calibration operation on a first driver in said first of said plurality of buffer circuits in response to said control signal;
providing an first output signal from said first driver control circuit associated with said first of said plurality of buffer circuits when said first calibration operation is complete;
inputting said first output signal into a second driver control circuit associated with a second of said plurality of buffer circuits; and
performing a second calibration operation on a second driver in said second of said plurality of buffer circuits in response to said output signal;
wherein said first and second calibrations each comprise the steps of,
utilizing a compare circuit to compare an output of a driver being calibrated to a reference signal to provide a respective result;
inputting said respective result to said central control circuit;
providing an adjust signal from said central control circuit to a driver control circuit of said driver being calibrated, said adjust signal being based on said result; and
adjusting said output of said driver being calibrated in response to said adjust signal.
2. The method according to claim 1, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing a relative size of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
3. The method according to claim 1, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output current of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
4. The method according to claim 1, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output voltage of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
5. The method according to claim 1, wherein each of said steps of performing a calibration operation respectively further comprises:
comparing an output of said driver being calibrated with a reference signal to provide a respective result;
inputting said respective result to a buffer, said buffer having an output connected to an input of said central control circuit;
enabling said buffer with a signal from said driver control circuit of said driver being calibrated; said buffer when enabled providing an output signal based on said result to said central control circuit;
providing an adjust signal from said central control circuit to said driver control circuit of said driver being calibrated, said central control circuit configuring said adjust signal based on said buffer signal; and
adjusting said output of said driver being calibrated in response to said adjust signal.
6. The method according to claim 5, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing a relative size of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
7. The method according to claim 5, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output current of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
8. The method according to claim 5, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output voltage of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
9. The method according to claim 5, wherein said step of providing an adjust signal further comprises:
using a clock signal to latch said adjust signal into said driver control circuit of said driver being calibrated.
10. A method for calibrating each of a plurality of buffer circuits in an integrated circuit, said method comprising:
providing a control signal from a central control circuit to a plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits being associated with a respective one of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said respective driver control circuits having an associated driver; and
independently performing, in response to said control signal, a calibration operation on a driver in each of said plurality of buffer circuits.
11. The method according to claim 10, wherein said independent calibration operation is performed substantially simultaneously.
12. The method according to claim 10, wherein said step of performing a calibration operation further comprises:
comparing an output of said driver in each of said plurality of buffer circuits to a reference signal to provide a respective result;
inputting said respective result to a respective driver control circuit associated with said driver being calibrated;
providing an adjust signal from said respective driver control circuit to said driver being calibrated, said adjust signal being based on said result; and
adjusting said output of said driver being calibrated in response to said adjust signal.
13. The method according to claim 12, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing a relative size of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
14. The method according to claim 12, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output current of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
15. The method according to claim 12, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output voltage of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
16. The method according to claim 10, wherein said plurality of buffer circuits are separated into a plurality of groups, each of said plurality of groups including at least two of said plurality of buffer circuits, said step of providing a control signal further comprising:
providing a control signal from said central control circuit to each of said at least two buffer circuits in a first group of said plurality of groups, said control signal being input to a respective driver control circuit for each of said at least two buffer circuits which, in response to said control signal perform a substantially simultaneous independent calibration operation on a driver in each of said at least two buffer circuits in said first group;
said method further comprising the steps of:
outputting said control signal from said first of said plurality of groups when said calibration operation is complete for each of said at least two buffer circuits in said first group;
inputting said control signal into a next one of said plurality of groups, said control signal being input to a respective driver control circuit for each of said at least two buffer circuits in said next of said plurality of groups which, in response to said control signal perform a substantially simultaneous independent calibration operation on a driver in each of said at least two buffer circuits in said next group.
17. The method according to claim 16, wherein after said calibration operation has been performed on each of said at least two buffer circuits in a last of said plurality of groups, said method further comprises:
providing an output signal from said last of said plurality of groups to said central control circuit; and
determining said calibration operation is complete for each of said at least two buffer circuits in each of said plurality of groups in response to said output signal from said last of said plurality of groups.
18. The method according to claim 16, wherein said step of performing a calibration operation further comprises:
comparing an output of said driver in each of said at least two buffer circuits to a reference signal to provide a respective result;
inputting said respective result to a respective driver control circuit associated with said driver being calibrated;
providing an adjust signal from said respective driver control circuit to said driver being calibrated, said adjust signal being based on said result; and
adjusting said output of said driver being calibrated in response to said adjust signal.
19. The method according to claim 18, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing a relative size of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
20. The method according to claim 18, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output current of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
21. The method according to claim 18, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output voltage of at least one transistor in said driver being calibrated.
22. The method according to claim 10, wherein said step of providing a control signal further comprises:
providing on a single conductive path said control signal from said central control circuit to a plurality of driver control circuits, said control signal including a unique address identifier; and
activating one of said plurality of driver control circuits whose address corresponds to said unique address identifier in said control signal,
whereby said activated one of said plurality of driver control circuits performs said calibration operation on a driver associated with said activated one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
23. The method according to claim 22, further comprising:
repeating said steps of providing, activating and performing until each of said plurality of buffer circuits has been calibrated.
24. The method according to claim 23, wherein said step of performing a calibration operation further comprises:
comparing an output of said driver associated with said one of said driver control circuits with a reference signal to provide a respective result;
inputting said respective result to a buffer, said buffer having an output connected to an input of said central control circuit;
enabling said buffer with a signal from said one of said driver control circuits; said buffer providing an output signal based on said result to said central control circuit;
providing an adjust signal from said central control circuit on said data line to said one of said driver control circuits, said adjust signal being based on said buffer output signal; and
adjusting said output of said driver associated with said one of said driver control circuits in response to said adjust signal.
25. The method according to claim 24, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing a relative size of at least one transistor in said driver associated with said one of said driver control circuits.
26. The method according to claim 24, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output current of at least one transistor in said driver associated with said one of said driver control circuits.
27. The method according to claim 24, wherein said step of adjusting said output further comprises:
increasing and decreasing an output voltage of at least one transistor in said driver associated with said one of said driver control circuits.
28. The method according to claim 24, wherein said step of providing an adjust signal further comprises:
using a clock signal to latch said adjust signal into said one of said driver control circuits.
29. A circuit for independently calibrating a driver in each of a plurality of buffer circuits comprising:
a central control circuit;
a plurality of serially connected driver control circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits associated with said driver in a respective one of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said driver control circuits having an input and an output, said input of a first of said serially connected driver control circuits being connected to said central control circuit, said output of each of said plurality of driver control circuits being connected to said input of a subsequent driver control circuit;
a control signal output from said central control circuit to said first of said serially connected driver control circuits, said first driver control circuit in response to said control signal performing a calibration operation on its associated driver, and upon completion of said calibration operation said first driver control circuit providing said control signal at its output to a next subsequent driver control circuit,
a compare circuit having an output, a plurality of signal inputs and a reference input, said output being connected to said central control circuit, said plurality of signal inputs each being respectively connected to an output of said driver in each of said plurality of buffer circuits;
a reference signal connected to said reference input of said compare circuit; and
an adjust line for carrying an adjust signal to each of said plurality of buffer circuits,
whereby in response to said control signal said next subsequent driver control circuit performs a calibration operation on its associated driver; and
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
30. The circuit according to claim 29, wherein in response to said adjust signal, said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in its associated driver.
31. A circuit for independently calibrating a driver in each of a plurality of buffer circuits comprising:
a central control circuit;
a plurality of serially connected driver control circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits associated with said driver in a respective one of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said driver control circuits having an input and an output, said input of a first of said serially connected driver control circuits being connected to said central control circuit, said output of each of said plurality of driver control circuits being connected to said input of a subsequent driver control circuit;
a control signal output from said central control circuit to said first of said serially connected driver control circuits, said first driver control circuit in response to said control signal performing a calibration operation on its associated driver, and upon completion of said calibration operation said first driver control circuit providing said control signal at its output to a next subsequent driver control circuit,
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input;
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits;
whereby in response to said control signal said next subsequent driver control circuit performs a calibration operation on its associated driver; and
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, passing said result through said buffer to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
32. The circuit according to claim 31, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
33. The circuit according to claim 31, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
34. The circuit according to claim 31, further comprising:
a clock signal output from said central control circuit, said clock signal being input to each of said driver control circuits,
whereby said adjust signal is latched into said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits by said clock signal.
35. A circuit for independently calibrating a driver in each of a plurality of buffer circuits comprising:
a central control circuit having an output; and
a plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits being associated with said driver in a respective one of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits being connected to said output of said central control circuit,
whereby in response to a control signal from said output of said central control circuit, said driver in each of said buffer circuits is independently calibrated by its associated driver control circuit.
36. The circuit according to claim 35, further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output connected to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input; and
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and outputting an adjust signal based on said result from said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits to its associated driver.
37. The circuit according to claim 36, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
38. The circuit according to claim 36, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
39. The circuit according to claim 36, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
40. The circuit according to claim 36, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
41. The circuit according to claim 35, wherein said central control circuit is on a different chip than said plurality of driver control circuits.
42. The circuit according to claim 35, wherein said plurality of buffer circuits are separated into a plurality of groups, each of said plurality of groups including at least two of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said groups having an output and an input, each of said plurality of driver control circuits in a respective group being connected to said input of said respective group, said input of a first of said plurality of groups being connected to said output of said central control circuit, said input of each remaining group being connected to an output of a previous group,
whereby said calibration operation is independently performed on each of said at least two buffer circuits in a group and upon completion, said control signal is passed to a subsequent group.
43. The circuit according to claim 42, further comprising:
a connection between a last of said plurality of groups and said central control circuit,
whereby when said calibration operation is complete on each of said at least two buffer circuits in said last of said plurality of groups, said last group sends a signal to said central control circuit, said signal indicating completion of calibration of each of said at least two buffer circuits in each of said plurality of groups.
44. The circuit according to claim 42, further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output connected to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input; and
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and outputting an adjust signal based on said result from said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits to its associated driver.
45. The circuit according to claim 44, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
46. The circuit according to claim 44, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
47. The circuit according to claim 44, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
48. The circuit according to claim 44, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
49. The circuit according to claim 35, wherein said central control circuit is on a different chip than said plurality of driver control circuits.
50. The circuit according to claim 35, wherein each of said plurality of driver control circuits has a unique address, and wherein said control signal includes a unique address identifier, and in response to said control signal one of said plurality of driver control circuits whose address corresponds to said unique address identifier in said control signal performs said calibration operation on its associated driver.
51. The circuit according to claim 50, further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with each respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input;
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits;
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits being associated with a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits having an input connected to said output of a respective one of said plurality of compare circuits, and an output connected to said central control circuit,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, passing said result through said buffer to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
52. The circuit according to claim 51, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
53. The circuit according to claim 51, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
54. The circuit according to claim 51, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
55. The circuit according to claim 51, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
56. The circuit according to claim 51, further comprising:
a clock signal output from said central control circuit, said clock signal being input to each of said driver control circuits,
whereby said adjust signal is latched into said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits by said clock signal.
57. An integrated circuit comprising:
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits including an associated driver;
a calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits, said calibration circuit comprising:
a central control circuit;
a plurality of serially connected driver control circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits associated with a driver of each of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said driver control circuits having an input and an output, said input of a first of said serially connected driver control circuits being connected to said central control circuit, said output of each of said plurality of driver control circuits being connected to said input of a subsequent driver control circuit;
a control signal output from said central control circuit to said first of said serially connected driver control circuits, said first driver control circuit in response to said control signal performing a calibration operation on its associated driver, and upon completion of said calibration operation said first driver control circuit providing said control signal at its output to a next subsequent driver control circuit,
whereby in response to said control signal said next subsequent driver control circuit performs a calibration operation on its associated driver.
58. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, wherein said output of a last of said plurality of serially connected driver control circuits is connected to said central control circuit,
whereby said last of said plurality of serially connected driver control circuit sends a signal to said central control circuit upon completion of calibration of its associated driver, said signal indicating completion of calibration of each of said plurality of buffer circuits.
59. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, wherein said central control circuit determines completion of calibration of each of said plurality of buffer circuits after a predetermined period of time.
60. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, said calibration circuit further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output connected to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input;
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and outputting an adjust signal from said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits to its associated driver.
61. The integrated circuit according to claim 60, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
62. The integrated circuit according to claim 60, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
63. The integrated circuit according to claim 60, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
64. The integrated circuit according to claim 60, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
65. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, wherein said central control circuit is on a different chip than said plurality of driver control circuits.
66. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, said calibration circuit further comprising:
a compare circuit having an output, a plurality of signal inputs and a reference input, said output being connected to said central control circuit, said plurality of signal inputs each being respectively connected to an output of said driver in each of said plurality of buffer circuits;
a reference signal connected to said reference input of said compare circuit; and
an adjust line for carrying an adjust signal to each of said plurality of buffer circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
67. The integrated circuit according to claim 65, wherein in response to said adjust signal, said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in its associated driver.
68. The integrated circuit according to claim 65, wherein in response to said adjust signal, said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in its associated driver.
69. The integrated circuit according to claim 65, wherein in response to said adjust signal, said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in its associated driver.
70. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, said calibration circuit further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input;
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits;
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits being associated with a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits having an input connected to said output of a respective one of said plurality of compare circuits, and an output connected to said central control circuit,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, passing said result through said buffer to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
71. The integrated circuit according to claim 70, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
72. The integrated circuit according to claim 70, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
73. The integrated circuit according to claim 70, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
74. The integrated circuit according to claim 70, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
75. The integrated circuit according to claim 70, further comprising:
a clock signal output from said central control circuit, said clock signal being input to each of said driver control circuits,
whereby said adjust signal is latched into said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits by said clock signal.
76. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory circuit.
77. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory controller.
78. The integrated circuit according to claim 52, wherein said integrated circuit is a central processing unit.
79. An integrated circuit comprising:
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits including an associated driver;
a calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits, said calibration circuit comprising:
a central control circuit having an output; and
a plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits being associated with said driver in a respective one of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits being connected to said output of said central control circuit,
whereby in response to a control signal from said output of said central control circuit, said driver in each of said buffer circuits is independently calibrated by its associated driver control circuit.
80. The integrated circuit according to claim 79, said calibration circuit further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output connected to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input; and
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and outputting an adjust signal based on said result from said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits to its associated driver.
81. The integrated circuit according to claim 80, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
82. The integrated circuit according to claim 80, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
83. The integrated circuit according to claim 80, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
84. The integrated circuit according to claim 80, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
85. The integrated circuit according to claim 79, wherein said central control circuit is on a different chip than said plurality of driver control circuits.
86. The integrated circuit according to claim 79, wherein said plurality of buffer circuits are separated into a plurality of groups, each of said plurality of groups including at least two of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said groups having an output and an input, each of said plurality of driver control circuits in a respective group being connected to said input of said respective group, said input of a first of said plurality of groups being connected to said output of said central control circuit, said input of each remaining group being connected to an output of a previous group,
whereby said calibration operation is independently performed on each of said at least two buffer circuits in a group and upon completion, said control signal is passed to a subsequent group.
87. The integrated circuit according to claim 86, further comprising:
a connection between a last of said plurality of groups and said central control circuit,
whereby when said calibration operation is complete on each of said at least two buffer circuits in said last of said plurality of groups, said last group sends a signal to said central control circuit, said signal indicating completion of calibration of each of said at least two buffer circuits in each of said plurality of groups.
88. The integrated circuit according to claim 86, further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output connected to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input; and
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and outputting an adjust signal based on said result from said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits to its associated driver.
89. The integrated circuit according to claim 88, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
90. The integrated circuit according to claim 88, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
91. The integrated circuit according to claim 88, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
92. The integrated circuit according to claim 88, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
93. The integrated circuit according to claim 86, wherein said central control circuit is on a different chip than said plurality of driver control circuits.
94. The integrated circuit according to claim 79, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory circuit.
95. The integrated circuit according to claim 79, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory controller.
96. The integrated circuit according to claim 79, wherein said integrated circuit is a central processing unit.
97. The integrated circuit according to claim 79, wherein each of said plurality of driver control circuits has a unique address, and wherein said control signal includes a unique address identifier, and in response to said control signal one of said plurality of driver control circuits whose address corresponds to said unique address identifier in said control signal performs said calibration operation on its associated driver.
98. The integrated circuit according to claim 97, said calibration circuit further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with each respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input;
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits;
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits being associated with a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits having an input connected to said output of a respective one of said plurality of compare circuits, and an output connected to said central control circuit,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, passing said result through said buffer to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
99. The integrated circuit according to claim 98, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
100. The integrated circuit according to claim 98, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
101. The integrated circuit according to claim 98, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
102. The integrated circuit according to claim 98, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
103. The integrated circuit according to claim 98, further comprising:
a clock signal output from said central control circuit, said clock signal being input to each of said driver control circuits,
whereby said adjust signal is latched into said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits by said clock signal.
104. The integrated circuit according to claim 97, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory circuit.
105. The integrated circuit according to claim 97, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory controller.
106. The integrated circuit according to claim 97, wherein said integrated circuit is a central processing unit.
107. A processing system comprising:
a processing device which processes data;
an integrated circuit connected to said processing device,
wherein at least one of said processing device and said integrated circuit comprises:
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits including an associated driver;
a calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits, said calibration circuit comprising:
a central control circuit;
a plurality of serially connected driver control circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits associated with a driver of each of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said driver control circuits having an input and an output, said input of a first of said serially connected driver control circuits being connected to said central control circuit, said output of each of said plurality of driver control circuits being connected to said input of a subsequent driver control circuit;
a control signal output from said central control circuit to said first of said serially connected driver control circuits, said first driver control circuit in response to said control signal performing a calibration operation on its associated driver, and upon completion of said calibration operation said first driver control circuit providing said control signal at its output to a next subsequent driver control circuit,
whereby in response to said control signal said next subsequent driver control circuit performs a calibration operation on its associated driver.
108. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein said output of a last of said plurality of serially connected driver control circuits is connected to said central control circuit,
whereby said last of said plurality of serially connected driver control circuit sends a signal to said central control circuit upon completion of calibration of its associated driver, said signal indicating completion of calibration of each of said plurality of buffer circuits.
109. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein said central control circuit determines completion of calibration of each of said plurality of buffer circuits after a predetermined period of time.
110. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein said calibration circuit further comprises:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output connected to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input;
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and outputting an adjust signal from said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits to its associated driver.
111. The processing system according to claim 110, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
112. The processing system according to claim 110, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
113. The processing system according to claim 110, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
114. The processing system according to claim 110, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit from said calibration circuit.
115. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein said central control circuit is on a different chip than said plurality of driver control circuits.
116. The processing system according to claim 107, further comprising:
a compare circuit having an output, a plurality of signal inputs and a reference input, said output being connected to said central control circuit, said plurality of signal inputs each being respectively connected to an output of said driver in each of said plurality of buffer circuits;
a reference signal connected to said reference input of said compare circuit; and
an adjust line for carrying an adjust signal to each of said plurality of buffer circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
117. The processing system according to 116, wherein in response to said adjust signal, said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in its associated driver.
118. The processing system according to 116, wherein in response to said adjust signal, said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in its associated driver.
119. The processing system according to 116, wherein in response to said adjust signal, said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in its associated driver.
120. The processing system according to claim 107, said calibration circuit further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input;
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits;
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits being associated with a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits having an input connected to said output of a respective one of said plurality of compare circuits, and an output connected to said central control circuit,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, passing said result through said buffer to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
121. The processing system according to claim 120, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
122. The processing system according to claim 120, wherein in response to said is adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
123. The processing system according to claim 120, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
124. The processing system according to claim 120, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit from said calibration circuit.
125. The processing system according to claim 120, further comprising:
a clock signal output from said central control circuit, said clock signal being input to each of said driver control circuits,
whereby said adjust signal is latched into said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits by said clock signal.
126. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein said processing device includes said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
127. The processing system according to 107, wherein said integrated circuit includes said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
128. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein both said processing device and said integrated circuit include said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
129. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory controller.
130. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein said integrated circuit is a central processing unit.
131. The processing system according to claim 107, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory device.
132. The processing system according to claim 131, wherein said processing device and said memory device are on a same chip.
133. The processing system according to claim 131, wherein at least one of said processing device and said memory device includes said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
134. The processing system according to claim 131, wherein both said processing device and said memory device include said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
135. A processing system comprising:
a processing device which processes data;
an integrated circuit connected to said processing device,
wherein at least one of said processing device and said integrated circuit comprises:
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits including an associated driver;
a calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits, said calibration circuit comprising:
a central control circuit having an output; and
a plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits being associated with said driver in a respective one of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of driver control circuits being connected to said output of said central control circuit,
whereby in response to a control signal from said output of said central control circuit, said driver in each of said buffer circuits is independently calibrated by its associated driver control circuit.
136. The processing system according to claim 135, said calibration circuit further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output connected to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input; and
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and outputting an adjust signal based on said result from said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits to its associated driver.
137. The processing system according to claim 136, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
138. The processing system according to claim 136, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
139. The processing system according to claim 136, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
140. The processing system according to claim 136, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit to said calibration circuit.
141. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein said central control circuit is on a different chip than said plurality of driver control circuits.
142. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein said plurality of buffer circuits are separated into a plurality of groups, each of said plurality of groups including at least two of said plurality of buffer circuits, each of said groups having an output and an input, each of said plurality of driver control circuits in a respective group being connected to said input of said respective group, said input of a first of said plurality of groups being connected to said output of said central control circuit, said input of each remaining group being connected to an output of a previous group,
whereby said calibration operation is independently performed on each of said at least two buffer circuits in a group and upon completion, said control signal is passed to a subsequent group.
143. The processing system according to claim 142, further comprising:
a connection between a last of said plurality of groups and said central control circuit,
whereby when said calibration operation is complete on each of said at least two buffer circuits in said last of said plurality of groups, said last group sends a signal to said central control circuit, said signal indicating completion of calibration of each of said at least two buffer circuits in each of said plurality of groups.
144. The processing system according to claim 142, said calibration circuit further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output connected to a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input; and
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, inputting said result to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and outputting an adjust signal based on said result from said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits to its associated driver.
145. The processing system according to claim 144, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
146. The processing system according to claim 144, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output current of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
147. The processing system according to claim 144, wherein in response to said adjust signal said associated driver is adapted to increase and decrease an output voltage of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
148. The processing system according to claim 144, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit to said calibration circuit.
149. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein said central control circuit is on a different chip than said plurality of driver control circuits.
150. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein each of said plurality of driver control circuits has a unique address, and wherein said control signal includes a unique address identifier, and in response to said control signal one of said plurality of driver control circuits whose address corresponds to said unique address identifier in said control signal performs said calibration operation on its associated driver.
151. The processing system according to claim 150, further comprising:
a plurality of compare circuits, each of said plurality of compare circuits having an output, a first input connected to an output of said driver associated with each respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, and a second input;
a reference signal connected to said second input of said each of said plurality of compare circuits;
a plurality of buffer circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits being associated with a respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits, each of said plurality of buffer circuits having an input connected to said output of a respective one of said plurality of compare circuits, and an output connected to said central control circuit,
whereby said calibration operation is performed by comparing said output of said driver to said reference signal to obtain a result, passing said result through said buffer to said central control circuit, and outputting an adjust signal from said central control circuit to said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits.
152. The processing system according to claim 151, wherein in response to said adjust signal said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits is adapted to increase and decrease a relative size of at least one transistor in said associated driver.
153. The processing system according to claim 151, wherein said reference signal is generated by an external circuit.
154. The processing system according to claim 151, further comprising:
a clock signal output from said central control circuit, said clock signal being input to each of said driver control circuits,
whereby said adjust signal is latched into said respective one of said plurality of driver control circuits by said clock signal.
155. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein said processing device includes said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
156. The processing system according to 135, wherein said integrated circuit includes said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
157. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein both said processing device and said integrated circuit include said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
158. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory controller.
159. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein said integrated circuit is a central processing unit.
160. The processing system according to claim 135, wherein said integrated circuit is a memory device.
161. The processing system according to claim 160, wherein said processing device and said memory device are on a same chip.
162. The processing system according to claim 161, wherein at least one of said processing device and said memory device includes said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
163. The processing system according to claim 161, wherein both said processing device and said memory device include said calibration circuit for independently calibrating said associated driver of each of said buffer circuits.
Description

This application is a divisional of application Ser. No. 09/599,559, filed Jun. 23, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,333,639, granted Dec. 25, 2001, the subject matter of which is incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to input/output circuits in integrated circuits (ICs), and more particularly to an apparatus and method for adjusting output buffer driver characteristics with a serial communication link between the control logic and each output buffer driver in the system.

2. Description of the Related Art

In an integrated circuit, input/output buffer circuits are often provided between the integrated circuit and the external environment, i.e., the system in which the integrated circuit is placed. The buffer circuits interface input/output signals to/from the external environment, typically a system bus or interconnect cable. Two characteristics of buffer circuits are slew rate (sometimes called edge rate) and buffer driver strength. The slew rate of a buffer is the rate of change of a voltage signal furnished at the output terminal of the buffer with respect to time. The buffer drive strength is the current/voltage characteristic of an output device of the buffer in producing the particular voltage level of an output signal. The drive strength of the buffer and the slew rate are chosen to meet the characteristics of the circuitry with which the buffer is associated.

Output buffer circuits are generally used in semi-conductor memory devices such as dynamic random access memory (DRAM), static random access memory (SRAM), read only memory (ROM) and the like.

In high-speed signaling systems, an output buffer calibration scheme is utilized to reduce timing uncertainties in these systems. In a bussed system, i.e., a system where there are several different devices that may drive the bus or where there are several different devices that drive a portion of a wide bus, output buffer calibration schemes are particularly important to reduce timing uncertainties. Calibrated output drivers in the buffer circuits reduce the timing uncertainty by matching drivers from one device to another, by matching the characteristics of the pull-up transistor, i.e., the transistor that drives a high voltage, to the characteristics of the pull-down transistor, by setting an effective output impedance that helps to back-terminate transmission line reflections in the bus system, and by limiting the output voltage slew rates to improve the signal integrity. Some of the benefits obtained by calibrated output buffers can be achieved by closely specifying the driver characteristics for all devices in the system. Techniques such as specifying minimum and maximum output currents, specifying the current versus voltage curves with minimum and maximum limits, and providing limits on the minimum and maximum slew rates have been used.

A problem with the above described calibration techniques is that they are unable to adjust for the effects of manufacturing process variances, applied voltage variations and/or temperature variations. As such, active calibration schemes that can further reduce the timing uncertainty by adjusting for the effects of process variance, voltage variation and/or temperature variation have been developed, Multiple drivers of a device can be adjusted simultaneously by providing the same adjustment commands to all drivers, or by providing an adjustment value that is used by all drivers. A further level of timing accuracy can be obtained by adjusting each driver independently of the others. With this method, drive strength differences between transistors on a device can be compensated for, and differences in transistor power and ground differences, typically caused by IR drops on the power or ground bus, can also be compensated for.

There are problems, however, with the conventional independent driver calibration schemes. Since each driver is independently calibrated, additional complex control logic for each driver is required, thus increasing the cost and size of the integrated circuit. Additionally, the number of control lines necessary to address each driver on the device can be large in some applications, such as bus controllers or memory controllers, thus further increasing the cost and size of the integrated circuit.

Thus, there exists a need for an apparatus and method for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers of an integrated circuit that does not require significant additional circuitry to implement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention alleviates many of the problems associated with the prior art and provides an apparatus and method for independently adjusting or calibrating output driver characteristics without significantly increasing the associated necessary circuitry.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a serial communication link is provided between a central control circuit and a driver control circuit for each of the output drivers. The serial link reduces the number of lines that are required to communicate between the central control logic and the multiple output drivers. The output drivers can be calibrated one at a time, and a handoff is made from one driver to the next to start the calibration of the subsequent driver.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the driver control circuit for each of the output drivers is connected to the central control circuit by a single signal line, and in response to a signal from the central control circuit on the signal line each of the drivers is independently calibrated at substantially the same time. In accordance with yet another aspect, the drivers are separated into a plurality of groups, and the groups serially connected together. The output drivers in each group can be calibrated at substantially the same time, and a handoff made from one group to the next group for calibration of the drivers in the next group.

These and other advantages and features of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description of the invention which is provided in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates in block diagram form a portion of an integrated circuit for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates in block diagram form a portion of an integrated circuit for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates in block diagram form a portion of an integrated circuit for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate in block diagram form a portion of an integrated circuit for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates in block diagram form a portion of an integrated circuit for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 illustrates in block diagram form a processor controlled system in which an integrated circuit that utilizes the multiple output driver calibration process according to the present invention is employed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention will be described as set forth in the preferred embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-6. Other embodiments may be utilized and structural or logical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention. Like items are referred to by like reference numerals.

In accordance with the present invention, the characteristics of multiple output drivers are independently adjusted or calibrated without significantly increasing the associated necessary circuitry.

FIG. 1 illustrates in block diagram form a portion of an integrated circuit, particularly a calibration circuit 10, for independently calibrating or adjusting the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention. Circuit 10 includes a plurality of drivers 14 a, 14 b, 14 n, as are known in the art. It should be understood that while only three drivers 14 a, 14 b, 14 n are illustrated, the invention is not so limited and any number of drivers, as the system in which they are installed requires, can be used. Additionally, each driver need not be located on the same chip, as drivers from separate chips could be connected together for the purpose of calibration. Each driver 14 a-14 n is provided with a respective driver control logic circuit 16 a-16 n for determining adjustments to make to its associated driver. A central control logic circuit 12 is provided to initiate and coordinate the calibration process amongst the driver control logic circuits 16 a-16 n. Central control logic circuit 12 may be provided on the same chip as the drivers 14 a-14 n, or alternatively may be provided on a different chip than drivers 14 a-14 n. By utilizing central control logic circuit 12 to initiate and coordinate the calibration process, each of the driver control logic circuits 16 a-16 n can be simple logic circuits local to each driver.

The operation of circuit 10 is as follows. Central control logic circuit 12 will initiate the calibration process by providing a Calibration Enable (CE) signal on line 18 to the CE_IN input of driver control logic circuit 16 a. When driver control logic circuit 16 a receives the CE signal from central control logic circuit 12, it will enter into a calibration process for driver 14 a. The calibration process includes turning on the pull-up and pull-down transistors (not shown) of driver 14 a and increasing or decreasing the pull-up transistor size or the pull-down transistor size, as described below, to match the output of the driver 14 a to a reference signal under a particular load condition. Increasing or decreasing the transistor size will change the current output and/or output voltage of the transistor accordingly.

When driver 14 a is turned on, the output D0 30 is input to a compare circuit 24 a where it is compared with a Vref signal 36. The signal Vref 36 can be generated on or off the same chip as circuit 10. An output signal from compare circuit 24 a is input to driver control logic circuit 16 a. The output signal from compare circuit 24 a may be based, for example, on the levels of the driver output 30 and Vref 36. The driver control logic circuit 16 a receives the output signal from compare circuit 24 a and determines, based on the received signal, if an adjustment of the size of the transistors in the driver 14 a is required. The transistors of driver 14 a can be increased or decreased in strength, i.e., change the output current and/or output voltage, by either increasing or decreasing the effective width of the transistor as is well known in the art. Changing the driver strength may be performed, for example, by increasing or decreasing the number of gate fingers that are activated by the pre-driver circuit. Driver control logic circuit 16 a will send an adjust signal to driver 14 a to adjust the strength of the transistor of driver 14 a accordingly. It should be understood that the adjust signal can include a single signal or a combination of signals.

Driver control circuit 16 a will continue to adjust the output of driver 14 a until the value of output 30 from driver 14 a is approximately equal to the value of Vref 36, indicating that driver 14 a is now calibrated. At this point, driver control logic 16 a will assert a calibration signal CE_OUT on line 20, which is input to the CE_IN port of driver control logic 16 b.

When driver control logic circuit 16 b receives the calibration signal asserted from driver control logic circuit 16 a, it will enter into a calibration process for driver 14 b. The calibration process for driver 14 b is similar to that of 14 a. The output D1 32 from driver 14 b is input to a compare circuit 24 b where it is compared with the Vref signal 36. An output signal from compare circuit 24 b is input to driver control logic circuit 16 b which determines, based on the received signal, if an adjustment of the size of the transistors in the driver 14 b is required.

Driver control logic circuit 16 b will continue to adjust the output of driver 14 b until the value of output 32 from driver 14 b is approximately equal to the value of Vref 36, indicating that driver 14 b is now calibrated. At this point, driver control logic circuit 16 b will assert a calibration signal CE_OUT on line 22, which is input to the CE_IN port of the subsequent driver control logic in the sequence.

The driver calibration process as described above will continue until the final output driver in the sequence, i.e., driver 14 n, has been calibrated. When driver 14 n has been calibrated, driver control logic circuit 16 n will assert a calibration signal CE_OUT on line 28 which is input to central control logic circuit 12. The input of the CE_OUT signal from driver control logic circuit 16 n to central control logic circuit 12 indicates the calibration process is complete for all drivers. Alternatively, the CE_OUT signal on line 28 need not be provided to central control logic circuit 12, and the calibration process for all drivers can be assumed to be complete after some period of time predetermined by the number of drivers to be calibrated. Thus, in accordance with the present invention, the characteristics of output drivers 14 a-14 n can be independently calibrated, thereby improving the timing accuracy of the integrated circuit in which the drivers 14 a-14 n are located.

FIG. 2 illustrates in block diagram form a calibration circuit 50 for independently calibrating or adjusting the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention. Calibration circuit 50 is similar to calibration circuit 10 of FIG. 1, except each of the drivers 14 a-14 n are calibrated simultaneously in circuit 50, as described below, as opposed to sequentially in circuit 10.

Central control logic circuit 12 will initiate the calibration process by providing a Calibration Enable (CE) signal on line 40 to the CE_IN input of each driver control logic circuit 16 a-16 n. When the driver control logic circuits 16 a-16 n receive the CE signal from central control logic circuit 12, they will enter into a calibration process, as described above with respect to FIG. 1, for their associated drivers 14 a-14 n simultaneously. As noted, the calibration process includes turning on the pull-up and pull-down transistors (not shown) of the drivers 14 a-14 n and increasing or, decreasing the pull-up transistor size or the pull-down transistor size to match the output of the drivers 14 a-14 n to a reference signal under a particular load condition. The calibration process for all drivers will be deemed complete after some predetermined period of time at which point the CE signal on line 40 will be disabled. As all drivers 14 a-14 n are calibrated simultaneously, the calibration process of circuit 50 requires less time than the circuit 10 of FIG. 1. The number of drivers 14 a-14 n that can be calibrated simultaneously may be limited, however, as the simultaneous turn-on of multiple drivers can result in large DC currents passing through the system.

To limit the amount of DC current that may pass through the system caused by the turning-on of multiple drivers simultaneously, a number of drivers may be grouped together and the groups daisy chained together as illustrated in circuit 60 of FIG. 3. In circuit 60, a plurality of drivers 14 a-14 n are provided in a group, such as for example groups 62 a, 62 b, 62 n. The number of drivers 14 a-14 n included in each group 62 a-62 n is determined such that the amount of DC current required by the simultaneous turn-on of all drivers 14 a-14 n in a respective group will remain below a predetermined threshold level. It should be understood that while three groups 62 a, 62 b, 62 n are illustrated in FIG. 3, the invention is not so limited and any number of groups may be provided.

The operation of circuit 60 is as follows. Central control logic circuit 12 will initiate the calibration process by providing a Calibration Enable (CE) signal on line 64 to the CE_IN input of each driver control logic circuit 16 a-16 n of group 62 a. When each of the driver control logic circuits 16 a-16 n of group 62 a receive the CE signal from central control logic circuit 12, they will enter into a calibration process, as described above with respect to FIG. 2, for their associated drivers 14 a-14 n simultaneously. When the calibration process is complete for the last driver in group 62 a, i.e., driver 14 n, driver control logic circuit 16 n will assert a calibration signal CE_OUT on line 66, which is input to the CE_IN port of each driver control logic circuit 16 a-16 n of group 62 b. When each of the driver control logic circuits 16 a-16 n of group 62 b receive the CE_OUT signal from group 62 a, they will enter into a calibration process, as described above with respect to FIG. 1, for their associated drivers 14 a-14 n simultaneously. When the calibration process is complete for the last driver in group 62 b, i.e., driver 14 n, driver control logic circuit 16 n will assert a calibration signal CE_OUT on line 68, which is input to the CE_IN port of each driver control logic circuit 16 a-16 n of the next subsequent group.

The driver calibration process as described above will continue, with all drivers in a group being calibrated simultaneously, until the final group of drivers, i.e., group 62 n, has been calibrated. When the last driver 14 n of group 62 n has been calibrated, driver control logic 16 n of group 62 n will assert a calibration signal CE_OUT on line 70 which is input to central control logic circuit 12. The input of the CE_OUT signal from group 62 n on line 70 to central control logic circuit 12 indicates the calibration process is complete for all drivers in all groups. Alternatively, the CE_OUT signal on line 70 need not be provided to central control logic circuit 12, and the calibration process for all drivers in all groups can be assumed to be complete after some period of time predetermined by the number of groups and the number of drivers in each group that need to be calibrated. Thus, in accordance with this embodiment, a plurality of drivers can be calibrated simultaneously, while maintaining the current levels associated with turning-on each of the drivers in a group simultaneously within a predetermined acceptable limit.

FIG. 4A illustrates in block diagram form a circuit 80 for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention. In circuit 80, the decision logic for adjusting each driver is located in the central control logic circuit 112, thus allowing for further simplification of each driver control logic circuit 82 a-82 n. In circuit 80, the output from each compare circuit 24 a-24 n is input to an associated tri-state buffer 84 a-84 n, which is enabled by the associated driver control logic circuit 82 a-82 n. The output of each tri-state buffer 84 a-84 n is connected to line 90, to provide a COMPARE signal back to central control logic circuit 112.

The operation of circuit 80 is as follows. Each of drivers 14 a-14 n are uniquely addressed by providing an address signal on the serial data pin (SD) line 86. The SD signal would provide all information to each of the drivers 14 a-14 n, which can be transmitted one bit at a time, in a serial format, using the SCLK clock signal on line 88 to latch the information into the drivers 14 a-14 n. For example, a first portion of information in the SD signal on line 86 would include the address of the driver, a second portion of information would include the command, such as for example enter calibration mode, increase pull-up, decrease pull-up, increase pull-down, decrease pull-down, or exit calibration mode. Thus, for example, when central control logic circuit 112 initiates a calibration process, an SD signal on line 86 will provide a unique address signal for one of the driver control logic circuits 82 a-82 n and an instruction to enter calibration mode for its respective driver 14 a-14 n. Upon receipt of the SD signal, the appropriate corresponding driver control logic circuit 82 a-82 n will activate the addressed driver 14 a-14 n to enter into calibration mode.

Thus for example, if calibration is to start with driver 14 a, driver control logic circuit 82 a will be activated to turn on the pull-up and pull-down transistors (not shown) of driver 14 a. Driver control logic circuit 82 a will also enable tri-state buffer 84 a. The remaining driver control logic circuits 82 b-82 n remain inactive and the remaining tri-state buffers 84 b-84 n remain disabled. The output D0 30 from driver 14 a is input to a compare circuit 24 a where it is compared with a Vref signal 36 as described above with respect to FIG. 1. An output signal from compare circuit 24 a is input to the tri-state buffer 84 a, which, being enabled, outputs a COMPARE signal on line 90 into central control logic circuit 112. Central control logic circuit 112 uses the COMPARE signal on line 90 to determine any necessary adjustments for the driver 14 a, and outputs the adjustment commands on SD line 86 to driver control logic circuit 82 a. When driver 14 a is calibrated, central control logic circuit 112 will command the driver control logic circuit 82 a to exit the calibration mode, and driver control logic 82 a will disable tri-state buffer 84 a. Central control logic circuit 112 will now command a different driver control logic circuit 82 b-82 n to enter the calibration process and repeat the calibration as described above for driver 14 a. This process will continue until all drivers 14 a-14 n have been calibrated.

FIG. 4B illustrates an alternative circuit 80 a for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with the fourth embodiment of the present invention. Circuit 80 a is similar to circuit 80 of FIG. 4A, except a CE signal on line 92 is input from central control logic circuit 112 to driver control logic circuit 82 a and daisy chain connected to the subsequent driver control logic circuits 82 b-82 n. The CE signal from central control logic circuit 112 replaces the address information provided as part of the SD signal on line 86. Thus, the SD signal on line 86 would include only the driver adjustment commands, such as for example increase puff-up, decrease puff-up, increase pull-down, or decrease pull-down. The only driver control logic circuit 82 a-82 n that would respond to the adjustment commands included in the SD signal would be that driver whose CE_IN pin is active and CE_OUT pin is inactive.

Thus, for example, when central control logic circuit 112 initiates a calibration process, it will assert a CE signal on line 92 to driver control logic 82 a and send an enter calibration mode command in the SD signal on line 86. Driver control logic circuit 82 a, having its CE_IN pin made active by the CE signal from central control logic circuit 112 and its CE_OUT pin inactive, will respond to the enter calibration command. The remaining driver control logic circuits 82 b-82 n remain inactive, as their CE_IN pins are not active. Driver 14 a will be calibrated similarly as described above with respect to FIG. 4A, with central control logic circuit 112 using the COMPARE signal on line 90 to determine any necessary adjustments for the driver 14 a, and outputting the adjustment commands on SD line 86. As only driver control circuit 82 a is activated, only it will respond to the adjustment commands included in the SD signal. When driver 14 a is calibrated, central control logic circuit 112 will send an exit calibration command on SD line 86. Driver control logic circuit 82 a will then make its CE_OUT pin active by asserting a CE_OUT signal, which is conducted on line 94 and input to the next driver control logic circuit 82 b, making the CE_IN pin of driver control logic circuit 82 b active.

Driver control logic circuit 82 b, upon having its CE_IN pin made active, will begin the calibration process for driver 14 b. Only driver control logic circuit 82 b will now respond to calibration commands included in the SD signal on line 86, as its CE_IN pin is active and its CE_OUT pin is inactive, while both the CE_IN and CE_OUT pin are active for driver logic control circuit 82 a and the CE_IN pin for driver control logic circuit 82 n is inactive. When driver 14 b is calibrated, driver control logic circuit 82 b will make its CE_OUT pin active, which is conducted on line 94 and input to the next subsequent driver control logic circuit, making the CE_IN pin of the next driver control logic circuit active.

The above process will continue until driver 14 n has been calibrated. When driver 14 n has been calibrated, driver control logic 82 n will make its CE_OUT pin active by asserting a CE_OUT signal, which is input back to central control logic circuit 112 via line 96. The input of the CE_OUT signal from driver control logic circuit 82 n to central control logic circuit 112 indicates the calibration process is complete for all drivers. Alternatively, the CE_OUT signal on line 96 need not be provided to central control logic circuit 112, and the calibration process for all drivers can be assumed to be complete after some period of time predetermined by the number of drivers to be calibrated.

FIG. 5 illustrates in block diagram form a circuit 100 for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the present invention. Circuit 100 allows for further simplification of the driver control logic circuits 102 a-102 n, as all decision logic is included in the central control logic circuit 212, and a single compare circuit 108 is used for all drivers 14 a-14 b.

The operation of circuit 100 is as follows. Central control logic circuit 212 will initiate the calibration process by providing a Calibration Enable (CE) signal on line 104 to the CE_IN input of driver control logic circuit 102 a. When driver control logic circuit 102a receives the CE signal from central control logic circuit 212, it will enter into a calibration process for driver 14 a. The output D0 30 from driver 14 a is input to a compare circuit 108 where it is compared with a Vref signal 36. An output signal from compare circuit 108 is input to central control logic circuit 212. The central control logic circuit 212 receives the output signal from compare circuit 108 and determines, based on the received signal, if an adjustment of the output D0 30 of driver 14 a is required. Central control logic circuit 212 will output an adjust signal on line 106. The only driver control logic circuit 102 a-102 n that will respond to the adjustment commands would be that driver control logic circuit whose CE_IN pin is active and CE_OUT pin is inactive, i.e., driver control logic circuit 102 a. Central control logic circuit 212 will continue to adjust the output of driver 14 a until the value of output 30 from driver 14 a is approximately equal to the value of Vref 36, indicating that driver 14 a is now calibrated. At this point, central control logic circuit 212 will command driver control logic circuit 102 a to exit the calibration mode, and driver control logic circuit 102 a will assert a calibration signal CE_OUT on line 110, which is input to the CE_IN port of driver control logic 102 b.

When driver control logic circuit 102 b receives the calibration signal asserted from driver control logic circuit 102 a, it will enter into a calibration process for driver 14 b. The calibration process for driver 14 b is similar to that of 14 a. The output D1 32 from driver 14 b is input to compare circuit 108 where it is compared with the Vref signal 36. An output signal from compare circuit 108 is input to central control logic circuit 212 which determines, based on the received signal, if an adjustment of the size of the transistors is required. Central control logic circuit 212 will output an adjust signal on line 106. Only driver control logic circuit 102 b will respond to the adjustment commands, as it is the only driver control logic circuit whose CE_IN pin is active and CE_OUT pin is inactive.

Central control logic circuit 212 will continue to adjust the output of driver 14 b until the value of output 32 from driver 14 b is approximately equal to the value of Vref 36, indicating that driver 14 b is now calibrated. At this point, central control logic circuit 212 will command driver control logic circuit 102 b to exit the calibration mode, and driver control logic circuit 102 b will assert a calibration signal CE_OUT on line 114, which is input to the CE_IN port of the subsequent driver control logic in the sequence.

The above process will continue until driver 14 n has been calibrated. When driver 14 n has been calibrated, driver control logic 102 n will make its CE_OUT pin is active by asserting a CE_OUT signal, which is input back to central control logic circuit 212 via line 116 The input of the CE_OUT signal from driver control logic circuit 102 n to central control logic circuit 212 indicates the calibration process is complete for all drivers. Alternatively, the CE_OUT signal on line 116 need not be provided to central control logic circuit 212, and the calibration process for all drivers can be assumed to be complete after some period of time predetermined by the number of drivers to be calibrated.

Thus, in accordance with the present invention, the characteristics of output drivers 14 a-14 n can be independently calibrated, thereby improving the timing accuracy of the integrated circuit in which the drivers 14 a-14 n are located.

A typical processor based system which includes integrated circuits that utilize the calibration circuits according to the present invention for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers is illustrated generally at 200 in FIG. 6. A computer system is exemplary of a system having integrated circuits, such as for example memory circuits. Most conventional computers include memory devices permitting storage of significant amounts of data. The data is accessed during operation of the computers. Other types of dedicated processing systems, e.g., radio systems, television systems, network switches, telephones and telephone systems also contain memory devices which can utilize the present invention.

A processor based system, such as a computer system, for example, generally comprises a central processing unit (CPU) 210, for example, a microprocessor, that communicates with one or more input/output (I/O) devices 240, 250 over a bus 270. The computer system 200 also includes random access memory (RAM) 260, a read only memory (ROM) or Flash memory 280 and, in the case of a computer system may include peripheral devices such as a floppy disk drive 220 and a compact disk (CD) ROM drive 230 which also communicate with CPU 210 over the bus 270. At least one of CPU 210 and one or more integrated circuits connected thereto, such as employed for RAM 260 and ROM 280, are preferably constructed as integrated circuits which include a calibration circuit for independently calibrating the characteristics of multiple output drivers as previously shown and described with respect to FIGS. 1-5. It may also be desirable to integrate the processor 210 and memory 260 on a single IC chip and have one or both of processor 210 and memory 260 employ the calibration circuit shown and described with reference to FIGS. 1-5.

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated above, it should be understood that these are exemplary of the invention and are not to be considered as limiting. Additions, deletions, substitutions, and other modifications can be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be considered as limited by the foregoing description but is only limited by the scope of the appended claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification702/107, 327/108, 326/30
International ClassificationH03K19/0175
Cooperative ClassificationH03K19/017581
European ClassificationH03K19/0175P
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